The rise of the home business

IN: Business news

While many high street shops stand empty, this is by no means indicative of the state of Britain's entrepreneurial spirit, as many people are simply shunning the traditional premises-orientated business in favour of setting up at home.

This is according to insurance specialist Direct Line for Business, which has identified a rising number of people running micro businesses from the comfort of their own house.

The company found that around eight million - or one in six - people in the UK use the internet to run their own home-based firm, primarily purchasing discount products before selling them on at a profit.

However, these businesses - or 'home webtailers' as the insurance specialist refers to them - are taking serious risks when it comes to taxes and insurance, with many owners simply not prioritising these crucial requirements of running a company.

While almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents to the survey kept stock at home valued at an average of £4,388, the majority were unaware that this stock would not be covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Direct Line also estimated that many of the micro businesses would be unaware of the personal income tax threshold of £9,440. The average turnover from the so-called home webtailers is thought to stand at around £18,000, meaning a large proportion could be unknowingly breaking the law.

Owners are therefore risking a big loss to their finances by way of an unprotected robbery or a heavy fine from HM Revenue and Customs.

"A large proportion of people clearly don't view themselves as running a business, despite generating a sizeable turnover selling goods online to be dispatched from their home," said Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business.

"People should check with HMRC if their activities online mean they qualify as running a business," he added.

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